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Friday, 6 September 2013

Literature: The Bloomsbury Group

The Bloomsbury group was the name given to a literary group that made the Bloomsbury area of London the centre of its activities from 1904 to World War II. It included Virginia Woolf , Leonard Woolf (Virginia’s husband), E. M. Forster , Vita Sackville-West (Virginia’s friend and lover), Roger Fry , Vanessa Bell (Virginia’s sister), Clive Bell (Virginia’s brother-in-law) , Adrian Stephen (Virginia as Vanessa’s brother) John Maynard Keynes, and Lytton Strachey, to name only a few. The “Bloomsberries”, as the members of the group were called, often met to talk about their own writing, other people’s writing, painting, love, politics… They also helped each other with their work.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was a British writer who was an important member of the Bloosmbury Group and is admired by feminists. Her novels, such as To the Lighthouse and The Waves, use the style called Stream of Consciousness, and she is regarded as one of the most important English writers of the 20th century.

Lytton Strachey (1880-1932) was a British writer who was a member of the Bloosmbury Group and is known especially for his book Eminent Victorians, which describes the lives of four famous 19th century country people in a humorous and not very respectful way.
It must be acknowledged that the Bloomsbury Group has often been more admired for non-literary reasons; indeed, the Bloomsberries shared the desire to challenge the strict Victorian social norms, and demonstrated a sexual freedom that was ahead of their time. Some members had bisexual tendencies, such as Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, who were lovers.
The Bloomsbury Group was rather elitist and exclusive. It has been highly criticized for its snobbishness and selfishness. The group was also reproached with its pacifism during the First World War.
Despite the numerous critics that were aimed at it, the Bloomsbury Group has had a wide-ranging influence, both in art and in society, even though that influence remains highly controversial. The Bloomsberries did play a significant part in the advent of a new modern world.

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